I did Stronglifts and I liked it a lot, and I still do. I recommend it for beginners.
I was wondering if you're allowed to add anything to strong lifts?
Don't think of it as being 'allowed', think of whether it has any value. Generally people who have a solid idea of what accessories to add probably can't get any benefit from Stronglifts.
The workout site states that I have to start at a certain weight for each exercise and do all of them for 5 sets of 5 reps each except for Dead lift because that is only 1 set of 5. Each workout, im supposed to add only 5 pounds to the lift.
Just to quibble, this is all correct except the deadlift goes up 10 lbs each time you do it.
Now I have heard nothing but amazing things about this workout but to me it seems a little... well... LITTLE. Has anyone ever done the full workout without adding anything on?
Yes, I did, for 17 weeks. The only real problem is that in the beginning you whip through it in 25 minutes and feel kind of disappointed, but later on when everything is heavy it's unnecessarily brutal. My one real beef with Mehdi is his insistence that you should do it absolutely as long as possible. I think he's wrong. Once you've stalled a couple of times the tedium works in bad ways on your mind -- better at that point to pick a more interesting program and have fun. After all, a real meathead will always find ways to brutalize himself in the weight room, why not have an interesting program to do it with?
Has anyone made huge gains with this?
Well it's a beginner program, which makes "gains" kind of a funny idea. My experience is not so much "my bench went up X pounds on Stronglifts", it is more that before stronglifts I had no idea what I could do on squat, deadlift, row or press (bench I knew because every living man on earth knows what he can bench), and after stronglifts I knew what my numbers were on those lifts.
Would it hurt to add maybe 1 or 2 sets of 1 other lift to each day or does that defeat the purpose?
It wouldn't hurt, but if you know why you want to do those exercises then you might not need stronglifts.
I went from Stronglifts to 5/3/1, and now looking back I think the jump was too dramatic. I got a great program from a trainer that works well, it is about half-way between Stronglifts and 5/3/1:
Work up to a 1RM on squat or deadlift, alternating week to week. Sometimes do a deficit dead or sumo, mix it up for fun.
Overhead Press 5x5 (just like stronglifst, +5/week)
Face Pulls or other rear delt exercise
DAY 3: Wheelchair day
Heavy Exercise 1, such as trap bar deadlift 3x8
Unilateral Leg Work, such as bulgarians, 3x8
Some Deadlift variation for hammies, like Stiff leg deadlift, 3x8
Two triceps exercises supersetted. Not a typo,
do these after that leg stuff.
Bench Press 5x5 (just like Stronglifts, go up 5#/week)
Floor Press (in my case this is cuz of my shoulder issue)
lat superset of any 2 exercises, I'm doing pullovers and pulldowns right now
Face Pulls or other rear delt exercise (I do this twice/week cuz of my shoulder)
The usual recommendations apply:
- take a week off every 5-8 weeks, whatever feels right, don't get dogmatic about it
- change the accessories every few weeks, but not the target muscles. So change your two lat exercises but keep lat work in on that day. Change the single leg work every few weeks but keep in single leg work
- Always increase the weights for accessories. When you plateau on an exercise switch to something else for a few weeks.